Memorial University sought $13,800 in PR help as president’s Indigenous claim probed

By Sarah Smellie THE CANADIAN PRESS ST JOHN’S, N.L.- Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to spend $13,800 on outside public relations help as questions arose about its former president’s claims of Indigenous heritage. A contract obtained through access-to-information legislation shows National Public Relations offered the university’s board of regents “communications counsel around a sensitive issue involving its president.” The signed contract is dated March 10, two days after CBC News published an investigation scrutinizing Vianne Timmons’s claims of Mi’kmaq ancestry. “We have worked with private and public sector organizations, including universities across the country, to navigate allegations of misrepresentation or misconduct directed at leadership,” National said in the document, responding to a request from Memorial. The firm offered media monitoring and communications help from a team that included…

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